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From Middle English halyday, holyday, halidei, haliȝdei, from Old English hāliġdæġ (holy day, Sabbath), equivalent to holy +‎ day. Compare West Frisian hjeldei (holiday), Danish helligdag (holiday), Norwegian helligdag (holiday), Swedish helgdag (holiday, feast).



holiday (plural holidays)

  1. A day on which a festival, religious event, or national celebration is traditionally observed.
    Synonyms: feast day, holy day
    Today is a Wiccan holiday!
    • 2005, Clinton, Bill, My Life[1], volume II, New York: Vintage Books, →ISBN, OCLC 60594427, page 5:
      Monday, January 18, was the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. In the morning I held a reception for the diplomatic representatives of other nations in the inner quadrangle at Georgetown, addressing them from the steps of Old North Building.
  2. A day declared free from work by the state or government.
    Synonyms: (UK) bank holiday, national holiday
  3. (chiefly UK, Australia) A period of one or more days taken off work for leisure and often travel; often plural.
    Synonyms: leave, time off, (US) vacation; see also Thesaurus:vacation
  4. (chiefly UK, Australia) A period during which pupils do not attend their school; often plural; rarely used for students at university (usually: vacation).
    Synonym: (US) vacation
    I want to take a French course this summer holiday.
  5. (finance) A period during which, by agreement, the usual payments are not made.
    a mortgage payment holiday
  6. A gap in coverage, e.g. of paint on a surface, or sonar imagery.[1]
    Synonym: lacuna

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


holiday (third-person singular simple present holidays, present participle holidaying, simple past and past participle holidayed) (chiefly Britain)

  1. (intransitive) To take a period of time away from work or study.
  2. (Britain, intransitive) To spend a period of time in recreational travel.



  1. ^ holiday” in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present.


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of halyday